The bogus so-called TikTok ‘doctor’ Matthew Lani - who has been caught in a web of lies - initially made his name as an HIV activist who claimed his boyfriend had deliberately infected him with HIV.
He went on a media tour, having a sit-down interview on SABC 3, and was also interviewed in a 40-minute interview on Talk Radio 702 in the summer of 2021.
Just two days after World Aids Day, which is commemorated on December 1, Lani was on 702 sharing his story and appealing for donations for his organisation, Greater Than AIDS Afrika, which appears to have been self-styled like the global Greater Than AIDS non-profit.
Lani had been interviewed by veteran 702 host Aubrey Masango in a 40-minute interview still available on the broadcaster’s website.
He was featured in the “South Africans Doing Great Things” segment, with his name prominently featured, and he was described as an HIV/Aids prevention advocate, first-year clinical psychology intern, co-founder, and executive director of Greater Than AIDS Afrika.
Lani has been caught in a web of lies this week, with the Gauteng health and education departments, a university, and a professional body for medical practitioners all shunning him and his extraordinary lies about being a doctor, which had garnered over 200,000 followers on TikTok.
He is also now facing a criminal complaint with the police for impersonating a doctor.
Lani also made the claim of being deliberately infected with HIV by his partner in November 2021 in the SABC 3 show Unpacked With Relebogile, which is hosted by Relebogile Mabotja.
Lani appears to have been motivated to lie and impersonate being a doctor as a ploy to generate sales through his weight loss pills, which he was selling on the platform for about R300.
It is also believed he may have tried to trump up sympathy with his alleged deliberate HIV infection to garner support for his platforms, including the foundation and his business initiatives.
His TikTok account has since been suspended and his whereabouts are unknown.
A number he shared publicly has since been re-registered to someone else.
– Wits University confirmed he was not a graduate and that they did not know him.
– The Health Professionals Council of SA also said he was not a registered practitioner.
– The Gauteng Health Department has also filed a charge with the SA Police Services in Brixton for allegedly impersonating a doctor.
– The Gauteng Education Department confirmed he had no matric certificate.
The provincial health department said Lani had managed to “weave his way into the system pretending to be in the employ of Helen Joseph Hospital, where he moved around the hospital corridors curating content for social media”, while Lani, who had claimed to have skipped Grades 4, 6, and 8, did not have a matric either.
HIV MEDIA TOUR
Lani told Mabotja in 2021 that he was a psychology student based in Joburg around 2019, when he met his supposed older boyfriend at a time when he was supposedly about to leave Joburg for back home in Christiana, North West, after his domestic worker mother lost her job.
“I knew that if I go back to Christiana, my dreams and my schooling would stop. I needed to find a way to stay in Johannesburg,” he said in his tale, trumping up sympathy.
He would then claim he met an older man in the supermarket aisle, who would later invite him to stay with him before they became live-in partners.
He claimed the lover gave him an allowance and he was able to “look good on campus,” but things changed after the alleged partner apparently started cheating and would later start allegedly beating him.
“It came to a point where I was like, I'm the problem. ‘He has done so much for me, and I have the audacity to question him’,” Lani told Mabotja.
He claimed he would go to campus with bruises, and he could not leave the boyfriend as “he depended on him” financially.
Lani’s interview sounded oddly similar to the words often used by real victims of abuse, suggesting that he may have been acting and making a mockery of the legitimate victims of gender-based violence.
The interview is still publicly available on YouTube and can be watched below.
Lani claimed that he was infected by his partner after he one day asked that they no longer use protection.
He claimed he agreed, on condition that they both go for an HIV test first, but he then painted a picture of his partner being perpetually busy and never doing the test together.
He claimed to have then reached a compromise, wherein they would both go individually and then send pictures to each other.
They apparently did so and went on about their lives having unprotected sex, until one day he claimed to find laboratory results that suggested his lover was HIV positive.
“I called him; I was quite nervous, and I did not understand. He laughed and said, Go to the clinic; I have a surprise for you.
“I went to the clinic with this; I could not understand. I went to the clinic, and I found this nurse, and she just said we'll have to do an HIV test, and it was two lines. This must be a mistake. I was like, What is going on?" he claimed.
He claimed the lover was punishing him for being ungrateful and leaving him, and he was kicked out that evening, he said, shedding a single tear.
He also claimed he became suicidal and tried to overdose on ARVs.
Lani told both 702 and Mabotja that he did not know about the pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep) treatment, which is used to prevent HIV before and after possible exposure to the virus.
He said he only learnt about it after his supposed ordeal.
“I was never educated about what Prep was; I found out when it was too late,” said the bogus doctor.